Monday, February 20, 2017

WEEKEND UPDATE

Well, it was another productive (and muscles sore) day.  I stopped at the store to get the rest of the soil for the raised beds. I love having my Jeep because I SURE couldn't have done this in the Fiat!


There are 21 bags of soil and compost in this picture.  From back end to front passenger seat (which folds flat so it's level with the back) it all fit.  Of course, it was kind of like a really heavy version of Tetris, but in the end "I won".


As I was filling one of the last beds, I noticed this.  I thought it was pretty cool.  This box was made of 100% recycled paper, and now it's getting recycled a second (and final) time.  

Hmm, would that be re-recycled?  

Raised bed orchard
Here are the beds, finally done, filled and waiting.  The plan is to let them sit a couple of weeks and then I will plant the trees the first weekend in March.


Several of you have asked how the mini orchard relates to the house and I realized that I haven't taken a picture back toward the house.  Oops!  I'll have to do that once I get them planted, but until then, I did find this one to give you an idea of the location.  

This is our "back yard" you might say.  The house is at the back of the property and since there is a water faucet and a power outlet on the back of the house, it seemed like the best place.  It keeps the fruit trees close to the house so we can enjoy them, have easy access to them and of course care for them.

Pork chop dinner
Since 2nd Man stayed in town, he had a nice a dinner waiting for me when I got back into town.  Pork chops, mashed potatoes and peas (I love peas!).  

And yep, I ate it all.  I worked up an appetite.


Big rains coming.  We are under a flash flood watch (soon to be a warning as this posts I'm sure) with the potential for up to 5" of rain and localized flooding.  Sunday was a good day to stay in town, rest my sore muscles and start planning what we're going to do with the Spring veggie garden which I'll work on this coming weekend.   


Today of course, it's back to work.  All of this is rain, very widespread, as of last night about 9pm and it's moving toward us (we're on the right side of the image).  It's going to be a nasty day.  Ugh.

Updates later as they warrant!


Friday, February 17, 2017

OH THE IRONY

As I was preparing the soil for the raised fruit tree beds the other day, I notice that the curious cows were hanging out watching me. 

Or at least I thought it was me they were watching.  Perhaps they were distracted by a certain bag of compost I was using...

 Black Kow manure compost
BLACK KOW cow manure!  

If they could talk, I wonder what they would say?

"You paid HOW much for our poop?  
Sucker!!  Come over to this side of the fence! Bwahahaha!"


Thursday, February 16, 2017

A PLACE TO SIT, INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm.  
Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!

Sitting area, image courtesy of Southernliving.com
As often happens, we find photos we like and somehow, they involve sitting areas.  For this one, it is just nice to see some pavers, bushes, and chairs under a tree as a nice respite from life.  We like how there is a little path that leads into the area with the chairs.

A good reminder, especially on a large property with lots of walking, to just have a place every so often to stop and sit and enjoy the surroundings.

Be inspired!


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

LARGE WOODEN TRAY TRASH TO TREASURE

OK, so this wasn't a trash find, but it was dirt cheap.  I stopped in a thrift store at lunch the other day and found this.  It was nice that it fit in my car too, ha.


It's a large wooden tray.  I'm not sure of its original purpose, if it was part of something else or what, but when I saw it, I knew it could be useful at the farm.


There are some scratches and scuffs and water stains so it is not mint condition.  Heck, I'm not even sure if it's old. But it is made from a good solid, sturdy wood and has handles on each side to make it easier to carry.

Large wooden tray
Did I saw it was large?  These porch steps are 4' wide so the tray is probably a good three feet.  

I'm thinking a paint job will be in order.  Maybe cork in the bottom?  A mirror?  Glass with something decorative underneath?  Not sure how we'll end up using it but for $6 (yep, you read that right, only paid six dollars for it!) it's worth trying to do something to it.

Any suggestions?


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

RAISED BED SOIL FOR FRUIT TREES

Here is our layering plan for the soil in our fruit tree raised beds.  

Why did we do it like this?  
Why not just have a truckload of soil delivered?  

I did a lot of research on fruit trees and bad soil conditions.  For our native soil, which is a lot of clay, we had to go with open bottom raised beds.  Trees will grow in clay soil but VERY slowly and if the planting hole is not done right, it can become an in-ground bowl and just drown the tree anyway.  So, a planting medium raised above ground level was our choice.  Since we left them with open bottoms so the roots will eventually work their way down into the ground underneath and by roughing it up and partially turning it, the layers above will slowly help to transform the clay into a more beneficial soil.  

So instead of a truckload of one type of soil (and not knowing what might be in it), we decided to know what we were putting in and we we did it in layers.  It is a mixture of composts (two different types), raised bed specially blended soil, and regular garden soil.  Layering will help give different mediums and nutrients for the roots to work through.

I missed the first photo though.  I used a pitchfork to turn the ground under the raised bed.  I didn't completely dig it all up, didn't want to create the bowl effect, just turned it to loosen it and then sat the box in place over it. 

Raised bed with cardboard 
The next thing I put down was cardboard.  That will help kill the remaining grass underneath and decompose over time, adding more nutrients to the soil underneath it all.  


The first layer I put down was a layer of cow manure compost, a 1.5 cu ft bag...


Then a layer of garden soil, 2 cu ft per bag...


Then a 2 cu ft bag of special blend for raised beds...


On top of this I put a mushroom compost mixed with humus...

Raised bed for fruit trees
To finish it all off, I put on another layer of garden soil, then two more raised bed blend layers.  So why not go with all raised bed blend?  Upon research, we found the answer was pretty simple.  Raised bed blends by their nature are a very loose soil and trees need something to "hold on to".  Of course, all garden soil would be too much the other way for a raised bed and not drain very well.    Since the ground below is still clay (for now), drainage is still a concern so we came up with this layering plan, mixing soils and a variety of composts.  Better to do this now, spend the money to get the best soils and give the trees the best chance they can have.

This weekend I'll finished getting the soil (one more trip to the garden center) and then we'll wait until the first weekend in March and get the trees into the soil.  Going to do some more research about what (if anything) we need to add to each tree to give it an extra head start.  Will research that by tree type.


Eight trees...two each of pear, plum, peach and apple.


P.S.  Happy Valentines Day to 2nd Man... 

Love you and love doing this for our future!


Sunday, February 12, 2017

WEEKEND UPDATE RANDOM THINGS

Just some random things for Sunday afternoon...


Got FIVE raised beds filled with soil after a few trips to the garden center.  Only three left to go, will finish that next weekend and then let the soils/composts cure and settle for a week or so and then plant the fruit trees in them.


I had cows watching me both days.  
They are such curious creatures.


Someone mentioned in a post last Fall about a great cleaner for the house siding.  I don't remember what post that was and I forgot to write the suggestion down.  Does anyone have any easy "spray the house and forget it" cleaner that will work for mildew on siding?  This is the North side of the house which always seems to get the most mildew.  It's amazing how fast it appears and how crappy it makes things look, ha. 


Came home today to some chicken oven roasted in the cast iron pan.

Yummy.  A great ending to the weekend!

We hope you had a great one!


Saturday, February 11, 2017

HELP ID THIS PLANT, UPDATE NORFOLK PINE

 Someone put this by the trash dumpster at the apartment and you know me, I snatched it up!  (2nd Man just shook his head, LOL!)


 I took it to the farm and had to snap some pictures of it because I'm not sure what it is!  Some sort of evergreen I'm guessing.  Norfolk Pine.


I tipped it on its side so you could see it in more detail.  I want to plant it in the ground but need to know what it is so I can make sure I do that correctly, i.e. soil, future size, light, water etc.


You see the glistening on it?  It's not water...it's glitter!  I think this was used as a Christmas decoration and someone just decided it was time to dispose of it.  I'm hoping I can plant it somewhere and add a new plant or tree to the farm.  And it will, for a while anyway, sparkle in the sunshine.  

Nothing wrong with that!

UPDATE:  We can always count on people from around the world to help us out with things like this.  Norfolk Pine is definitely what it is.  Yep, from what we've read, borderline possible outside.  Haven't decided yet if we'll do it outside or keep it at the farm inside as a houseplant.  I suppose maybe one season inside as a houseplant and maybe we could try next year outside.  

Decisions, decisions...

Thanks again!  Off to the farm today for more soil in the fruit tree beds.


OFF TO THE FARM TODAY FOR SOIL FILLING

Have to get soil for the fruit tree raised beds...


...and start filling them.  We're doing bagged varieties, soils and composts, etc so that we can control what's in there and create the "blend" that we want (more on that in Monday).  It might require a bit more work and expense up front, but we'll have the trees off to the best start they could have.

The weather today is gray and overcast, and it's lows in the 70's, highs into the 80's.  It's February, right?  It's "Winter"?  Yeah, OK, sure...

Friday, February 10, 2017

SLEEPING KITTIES FELINE FRIDAY

Haven't had any Friday kitty pictures lately (and several of you have noticed, ha).  

So without further ado, here is...


Brisbane, sacked out in his bed, with the sun shining on him (so he can recharge his batteries I'm sure).  So content...


And Hobart, sleeping on the rug in front of the window...in the same sunshine shining through...

And of course, what are WE doing while THEY are sleeping like this?  Working of course. To make money, to keep them in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed, LOL!



Thursday, February 9, 2017

TABLE IN THE GARDEN INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Every Thursday, we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm.  
Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!

Garden table and chairs, photo courtesy of countryliving.com
One thing we have always wanted (and a few Inspiration Thursday posts have had similar photos) is a dining table in the garden.  It wouldn't have to only be to eat, it would be a great place to just sit and sort veggies, write, plan, or just take a break.  We saw this photo online and loved the smaller, more intimate style of it.  Of course we couldn't feed an army there but it would be kind of nice for a small group and/or just us for breakfast or lunch.

Love the rustic wooden table and then the vintage style chairs.  We could easily get this done soon, if we could just find the right table and chairs, because we have a big empty space in the garden on purpose for just something like this.

Be inspired!


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

BEEF BACON BY JOHN MORRELL

Picked up some of this recently. something we had never tried before...

BEEF BACON?!!?

Wait, what??

John Morrell Beef Bacon
I'm sure that's an oxymoron or some other incorrect use of two words.  Bacon is a sacred thing, in our household for sure.  We LOVE bacon.  So I thought this might be a good chance to try something different.  

It sure looks like bacon...


It kind of fries up like bacon, though the fat renders away pretty quickly. While it's cooking it smells more like beef of course, but it does cook quickly... 

Fried Beef Bacon
Here is the end result.  It's VERY crumbly.  Some pieces stayed whole for a bit, it definitely crisps up like good crispy bacon would, but they crumbled into bits very easily and quickly.  For that being a match for bacon, we'd say fail on that.  Maybe we cooked it too long, but we like crispy bacon and so we just copied the way we like that normally. If you are looking for bacon bits, well then that wins.  

The taste is very good, kind of like what you might imagine brisket would taste like if you fried it.  It's cured and smoked so it does have the bacon essence that you would want.  Like I said, it was good in a "different than bacon" sort of way.  If you don't eat pork for any reason, it would be a brilliant way to still have bacon for breakfast.  Overall, we'd definitely buy it again.  It has its place in rotation in the kitchen but we think maybe it would be even better as an ingredient in other dishes. 

It is a bit hard to find, we found ours at Kroger, but I've been to other Kroger stores and none of them have had it.

Has anyone ever tried this?